Political Correctness, we are told, is not the bogeyman that non-liberals often portray it to be. Rather, we are told, it’s merely civility, politeness, and respect for others writ large.

Horse puckey.

Political correctness, and its militant sibling, social justice, are coercive ideologies used to cudgel disagreement into submission. And, as time marches on, they, like infinitely rapacious beasts, demand obeisance to more and more extreme ideas, even ideas that defy logic, common sense, and the accumulated body of human knowledge.

That’s how we end up with the absurd notion that the only differences between boys and girls are societal and inculcated in nature, rather than the product of different chemical compositions and hormonal excretions.

And that’s how we end up with the current cover story at Self, a magazine about health and wellness. The cover features a morbidly obese model, and the headline “Tess Holiday’s Health Is None Of Your Business.”

As to the latter, I wholly agree. How another chooses to live his or her life is indeed none of my business. I, as a libertarian, find another’s life less of my business than the vast majority of liberals, social justice warriors, progressives, liberals, Democrats, Republicans, and conservatives do, as clearly evinced by the political ideas I and they espouse.

Moreso, I’m not even the sort who’d make the bootstrapping argument that’s used to selectively justify bans and other government actions that regulate behavior. Some claim that someone who, through bad choices, is more likely to burden society with costs justifies society acting to mitigate those costs. See: drug bans, soda bans, helmet laws, and the like. I retort that society has chosen to bear those costs. Paralleling Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s question about ObamaCare, I reject the notion of creating an entitlement in order to regulate it, and so the fact that society picks up the medical costs of those who can’t or won’t handle them on their own doesn’t give society the right to manage the lives of the unhealthy.

But, I draw the line at relativizing or celebrating unhealthiness, even under an “in a world that devalues bodies of size” rationalization.

I once heard a caller on a radio talk show discuss his obesity in relation to air travel. He noted his acceptance of “being uncomfortable” due to his not fitting in airplane seats, and said that he has to sit the whole time with his arms crossed. I feel for the guy. Having been varying degrees of overweight most of my life, I understand his point. But, his is an acceptance of reality, not a declaration of defiance or demand for affirmation.

While a particular overweight individual may indeed be healthier than a particular “fit-looking” individual, it is undeniable that, on average, an “of weight” person is going to face far fewer health-related problems than someone a hundred pounds overweight. This is the message that’s buried by Self’s controversial cover, and it’s the abandonment of common sense in favor of some new bit of “woke.”

Don’t buy the argument? Flip the script. Ask how you’d react if, instead of the “plus-size” model (nice euphemism, by the way), the model on the cover was an anorexic making a similar declaration of defiance. The fashion industry has been under attack, by the same social scolds who are probably applauding the Self cover model, for decades for promoting unhealthy too-thin body images. How is this any different? Both are unhealthy, both are (for most people) choices. Yes, losing weight and keeping it off is difficult, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a good thing to do.

If Self had published a bony stick of a woman, with the exact same headline, we’d see accusations far and wide of their promoting body dysmorphia and dangerous unhealthiness. This is no different. Want to tell the woman’s story, want to encourage those who are of similar heaviness to take positive steps? I’m all in on that, and if Self promoted the cover that way, I wouldn’t be blogging about it. But, the message I see is the same one that’s conveyed by the phrase “fat-shaming,” i.e. if someone’s fat, not only should you not judge (I agree), you should deem it a lifestyle choice as worthy as that of a fitness fanatic. That’s the bridge too far, and that’s the illogic of political correctness. It’s no different than asserting that the subjugation of some under Sharia is morally equivalent to the West’s ideals of individual liberty – it defies common sense.

And, lets be honest. Everyone judges. The brain does what the brain will do. It is what we do and how we behave in response to those automatic thoughts that is relevant to others. The Self model is right, another person’s health is none of our business. We may instinctively react negatively to another’s obesity (or anorexia), but it’s on us to keep that reaction to ourselves. Indeed, we shouldn’t fat-shame. We don’t know someone else’s story, but even if there’s no medical cause of that obesity, it’s none of our business how someone else chooses to live. Consider this John Mortimer quote: “I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward.” A person may indeed decide to live a way that is likely to shorten his or her life, as illogical as that might seem to us. But, here’s where PC goes wrong. Rather than calling for MYOB restraint, PC demands we go the other way, and actively support others’ choices, no matter that we think them wrong. Another’s decision to live differently is of greater importance and hierarchical prominence than our decision not to. Rather than equality, the “oppressed” (in this case, the obese) are supposed to be given priority and deference, to the point of self-subordination, and in utter rejection of basic common sense.

The intention at Self may be noble (PC and “woke” are often rooted in good intentions), but what it actually does is provide excuses for people who want to deny the unhealthiness of their overweight. By celebrating the bold defiance, they promote denial. Both an individual’s denial of truths about him or herself, and the PC movement’s denial of facts and truths.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


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